A National Litter Index report says Queensland is the most littered mainland state in Australia.
To combat that alarming statistic, Queensland’s peak environment group is pushing for a ban on plastic bags and is encouraging Queenslanders to commit to go plastic bag free in the month of March.
Queensland Conservation’s Executive Director, Toby Hutcheon said that in Queensland alone 1 billion plastic bags are used every year and that the average household collects 60 bags a week.
“As the most littered mainland state it’s time that the Queensland Government got behind Queensland Conservation’s aim to have a ban on single-use plastic bags by 2015,” Toby said.
Plastic bags have only been in use by consumers since the 1960s, so theoretically it should be an easy habit to break.
Toby said that finding an alternative to single-use plastic is easy. “When shopping, you can take your own bags – any kind you like. Or ask retailers to provide alternatives, like compostable plastic bags or boxes.”
“At home, you don’t need to rely on single-use plastic bags either. You can use newspaper in your rubbish bin, or there are compostable plastic alternatives if you prefer to use a bin liner,” Toby said.
David Curtin, CEO Keep Queensland Beautiful said that plastic bags are one of the leading man-made everyday pollutants on the planet.
“Almost 20% of plastic packaging items picked up around Queensland since April 2013 has been plastic bags,” he said.
The organisation has also partnered with George Patterson Y&R to release a web film highlighting the wasteful and deadly phenomenon of the plastic bag.
Plastic bags – Queensland’s had a gutful aims to bring home the reality of releasing millions of shopping bags into the environment to hurt our wildlife. It highlights that each year 1 million sea birds die an agonising death after ingesting plastic.
Toby said that without the support of the agency the film would not have been possible.
“It’s organisations like this, who get behind not-for-profits that really make a difference to the environment and the lives of others,” Toby said.
The film can be viewed online at qldshadagutful.org.au. The organisation is crowdsourcing funds to air the film on TV.
For more information about Plastic Bag Free March visit plasticbagfreeqldmarch.org.au.
Say no to plastic bags
A single-use plastic bag is used on average for just 12 minutes.
Plastic bags can take up to 1000 years to decompose. They break down into smaller bits but never fully leave the environment.
Australians use nearly 4 billion plastic bags every year.
Worldwide one trillion bags are used and discarded every year.
Supermarkets account for 53% of plastic bag use and 47% comes from other retail outlets.
Australians dump 7150 plastic bags into landfill every single minute. That’s 429,000 every hour.
Only 3% of plastic bags are currently returned to supermarkets for recycling.
They are made from non-renewable fossil fuels.
Plastic in the ocean kills more than 1 million sea birds and 100,000 sea mammals annually.